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Random Rainy Day Ramblings and Research

Well, that was stimulating! I must say, my last blog post certainly got me thinking, and it would appear that it stirred up a few things in you wonderful readers, as well ~ sadly confirming that the issue of slashing funding to the arts resounds across the universe in deafening fashion, it’s simply that Kansas is leading the way. Not the kind of leadership I can stand behind, I’m afraid.

But feeling helpless or harboring hopelessness has never sat well with me. In fact, I detest it. I much prefer to be certain that in my little circle of life I’m doing all I can to address the things that I wish to change.  The undesirable situation may or may not change ~ many things remain out of our control ~ but I prefer to go to sleep at night knowing I tried.

So I’ve been scouring around for solace, solutions, wisdom, inspiration ~ grasping for anything, really, that might provide insight ~ and not only was I INUNDATED with an abundance of good news and uplifting material, but my sense of security in humanity and the arts is greater than before.  However, the reality persists that it will take the effort of many people to be sure that not too much damage is done while people with short-sighted, or let’s say simply misguided vision are in power.

So this is my plea to you ~ “the choir” (the ones who already believe so passionately that the Arts are a NECESSITY in our society) ~ please use your voice to be sure that those in YOUR circle know the facts, sense the urgency, and understand what is at stake.  I fear that the majority of people will wake up one day and simply say, “What happened?”, and perhaps if we speak up, they will be ignited to activate their power to assure that what we all know to be inherently vital in our lives, will not fall into obscurity.

So, please allow me to arm you with a few random bits of goodness I’ve stumbled upon (a few graciously forwarded by some of you – the Brilliant Yankeediva Readers!!!) and have at it: Pass it around. Get inspired. Call yourself and your friends into action. Silence is the thing, I’m certain, to avoid at this moment.  Feel free to use this, or my Facebook page, as a forum to sound out ideas and inspire each other to action. Why not, right?

My inspiration from the week:

“Benjamin Zander on Music and Passion” Why Classical Music, is, INDEED, for EVERYONE.  Why should we buy into the assumption that Classical Music is for only 3% of the population? He demonstrates how it CAN be for everyone, and why we need to radically spread that word.  I’ve started to get upset with some of the “powers that be” that seem to be constantly apologizing for, in particular, Opera, and think it is more important than ever that we start singing the praises of these art forms that are unlike any other, and offer greater benefits to society than we ever give them credit for. If we can’t explain and defend and proclaim why they are important and necessary, why should we expect anyone to attend, let alone fund our endeavors?

Makoto Fujimura on “The Value of Art” One of the best essays I’ve read on why “the Arts are not a peripheral luxury for the elite few, but a central necessity for how a civilization is to be defined, and how our humanity is restored.”  This article alone provides ample ammunition for why a society needs culture and an artistic voice.

Health Benefits No joke!  In my last blog I posted a great article about the financial benefits to a healthy arts sector in a society.  I’m still somewhat convinced this will be the most effective, pragmatic argument to grab a leader’s attention. But it certainly can’t hurt to point out well defined health benefits to singing: longer lives, better immune systems, higher intelligence? (Surely tenors weren’t included in the study! ;-)) Personally, I think there are numerous others, but I need more time for the actual scientific studies.

Passionate, Courageous Soldiers I am constantly shocked and awed by the heroic stories I hear of the people in the trenches who are operating on much less than a shoestring budget in the music classroom’s across the country: the music teacher. They are the lone voices who are trying to keep alive the joy and discovery of introducing music to children, and I love her take on the price reality television might be costing the voices of tomorrow.  (The thing that I miss in this, however, is that American Idol is a competion, and goodness knows going into the music business is as competitive as it gets, but her overall point of ENCOURAGING young singers is a very important one.) Please support your local music teachers ~ they need it!

Jim Gilliam ~ “The Internet is my Religion” You may need a few tissues nearby if you press play below, but I can promise you that it is incredibly powerful, and likely worth your time. Now I’m smarter than to open up a religious discussion here, and while “Religion” is in the title, it’s much more about the power of humanity, the power of activism, the power of the spirit, and gives me hope that through connection and determination ANYTHING is possible. ANYTHING.

Karl Paulnack to the Boston Conservatory Freshman Class Without question THE greatest argument I have ever read for the NECESSITY of music in our lives. If you don’t read anything else on the topic, please do read this. Please pass it to everyone you know. Please live this out. In his speech to the incoming Freshman, he charges them:

“Frankly, ladies and gentlemen, I expect you not only to master music; I expect you to save the planet. If there is a future wave of wellness on this planet, of harmony, of peace, of an end to war, of mutual understanding, of equality, of fairness, I don’t expect it will come from a government, a military force or a corporation. I no longer even expect it to come from the religions of the world, which together seem to have brought us as much war as they have peace. If there is a future of peace for humankind, if there is to be an understanding of how these invisible, internal things should fit together, I expect it will come from the artists, because that’s what we do. As in the concentration camp and the evening of 9/11, the artists are the ones who might be able to help us with our internal, invisible lives.”

Truly.

Finally, in what may appear unrelated, but I assure you is not: A Nurse reveals the top 5 regrets people make on their deathbeds

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

I propose that music and the arts facilitate each and every single one of these items with staggering power. Music helps us discover who we truly are and allows us that precious avenue in which to express that. (Hence the reason it can be a threat to people…)  Music IS play.  Expressing your feelings? Ha. Not even debatable. Are there many other greater ways to share and grow with friends than through dance or song? NOPE. And music IS joy. Period. So, as we can conclude with perfect accuracy and certainty: music is the avenue to a regret-free death. What else do we need?!?!

Ah, yes – we do need Kevin Bacon:

Honestly, who can argue with Kevin?

“It’s the way it was in the beginning. It’s the way it’s always been. It’s the way it should be now!”

So, spread the word!

16 hours ago

Saving the world one teacher at a time https://t.co/61VhoCkR4u

16 hours ago

#BLISS = working all day in the garden losing all sense of time. #TREPIDATION = knowing you will painfully discover… https://t.co/aBRAP5PEZ9

17 Jun

#TreesGloriousTrees Beautiful to see effective solutions!!!!!! https://t.co/nUqmTyT6qb

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I arrive (nearly) to the end of this very full season, and it’s good moment to remind each of you reading this that YOU are the reason I travel the world, away from home for months at a time, working towards an unattainable perfection, exposed in ways very few people can imagine, singing the stories of characters searching for enlightenment/redemption/hope/relief/joy, and why I dedicate a large part of my life to this century’s old art form. I do it to entertain you at a minimum, but mostly to offer you comfort, to help us all join in a communal “event” that connects us across time and space despite our perceived differences, and I do it because I truly believe it makes the world a better place. I know you feel this most of the time as well. It’s likely what keeps bringing you back! I hope that after this season, perhaps you feel a bit more inspired to take what you receive as an audience member and activate that sensation in your own life, to bring hope and joy to the world around you. Don’t ever underestimate your power to do that - one doesn’t need the spotlight to bring transformation. #Songplay #Winterreise #Agrippina #Didon ✨

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Grazie Mille @accademiadisantacecilia and the @baciopanino boys. What a JOY it was to perform with you all. Until the next time!

Celebrating #WorldOceansDay ... hoping every single one of you has the chance to swim in the vast blue ocean one day. Growing up in Kansas, I didn’t have the chance until I was in my 30’s, but when I finally did, an entire new universe opened right underneath me and I was changed. I’m so grateful for all that the planet’s oceans give to us. I want to be sure I’m doing all I can as a citizen of the world to take care of them and their vast, life-giving properties. Let’s get more informed and more active in protecting them and helping them thrive.

I was not prepared. The inspiration is through the roof to bring to life the towering cantata of #JoanOfArc tonight in the very cathedral de St. Denis, where she prayed for strength centuries and centuries ago. The same stones that received her pleas tonight will hear them again filtered through the mind of Rossini and the vibrations of those of us on stage. This, perhaps, is the thing I love most about the world of music - it connects us directly through time and space, and it shows us demonstrably how we are one. Ask me how much I love my “job”! @festivalsaintdenis @accademiadisantacecilia

#HowToFlower . . . What’s beautiful around you right now?

Grazie Mille, Roma. What a gift to be here for the briefest of moments - how much life we can find in the now!!!! #LightShower #Pantheon #Mystical #Luz #Luz #Luz #NoFilter #LookAround #Stopqndbreathe #batheinthelight #recoup #regenerate #batheingratitude #boydidtheromansknowhowtobuildabuilding #agrippinawashere #perfection #ladolcevita

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There will always be more freedom to acquire and more truth to uncover.

~ Joyce DiDonato